Oklahoma City

Free Day At The Zoo

So, I read online last night that today was one of the last "free" days at the zoo.  What a fun thing to do I thought, I could take the older kids to the zoo today.  So after dropping the youngest off at school I came home to my 16 and 18 year old and asked them if they wanted to go to the zoo.  Now I don't think we've all been to the zoo together since my 21st birthday  or something like that.  I did go to the zoo in 2012 with my two boys, but haven't been with my daughter in a very long time.  

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I've been having tire problems for ages! I'm stuck driving gravel roads fairly often and put a lot of miles on my car commuting.  But I noticed a knot on the tire- and I thought surely it would be okay just one day and I checked my air pressure and I carry a small air compressor with me at all times so if I ever get a low tire I can air it up (which it was worth the investment that I made in 2010 for it).   So we left and went to the city and my car did have more vibration in the front.  We had made it to the edge of Oklahoma City on Interstate 35 and BOOM!  The tire blew out, fortunately I was aware of what it was right away and no one was tailgating me and I was able to pull off the very busy interstate.   It really did scare me and I was shook up for a while afterwards.   I really don't want to experience that again.  

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I'm so thankful for my brother today.  My blowout happened about a mile from his business and he was there within five minutes and changed my tire on the interstate initially.   Then took us to Norman to get a new tire for my car and back to change it out so we could continue today.  I love my Brother and I couldn't think of a better person to have for a big brother than my brother, Steve.  

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 We finally made it to our destination, at three- two hours before the zoo closed.  

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I hate snakes!  I hate em

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Snake neck turtle.  

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So the hole that the tree frog was in was about the same size as my lens; which made for a cool reflection.  

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Hungry, hungry Hippo! 

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It was tshirt weather. I kind of have this love/hate relationship with Oklahoma this time of year.  We can have snow or ice and a few days later have 70-80 degree days.  Today was a great winter day to visit the zoo.  

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It blows my mind to see pages like this.  To know that people (Americans, etc) go to Africa and hunt these beautiful animals for sport.   Speak Up For The Voiceless- What a sad world it is when people would kill a creature just to say they killed it.  

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 I'm sure I have photos of my kids at the zoo from many years ago. I felt obligated to bribe them to pose for me.  

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I tried to post this the other night but my internet shut down and it didn't post, so I have to reload part of the photos that I had uploaded.  

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This Sumatran Tiger is beautiful.  I love seeing the big cats.  I kind of hate that we enclose such exotic animals for our viewing pleasure.  

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The snow leopard had it's own tail. 

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Not a bad shot for through the fence.  

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Giraffes are incredibly sensitive souls.  But we power walked for a two hour zoo visit after a very stressful morning -  and - then we went to the mall (because the 16 year old needed to look for something at a particular store).   Headed home for the 80 mile drive on the wobbly wheel that needs a new rim (which is ordered) and stopped for just a few photos of the night sky. 

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Not many, the kids were ready to go home and so was I.   Remember, there is no such thing as a "free day" at the zoo.  


A Day at Easter Seals Oklahoma

In March I had the opportunity to spend the day with the wonderful people of Easter Seals Oklahoma for a day long photoshoot of their facility.  Easter Seals is a non-profit organization that was founded nearly a century ago (History of Easter Seals ).  Edgar Allen after losing his son to a streetcar accident in 1907  founded the National Society for Crippled Children,  this initially was to help children with disabilities who were often hidden from public view, in 1934 the society launched it's first Easter Seals campaign. 

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 Mural on the wall of Easter Seals Oklahoma

Much like the ribbons of support people wear or post on their online profiles today.  The original "Easter Seal" was to show support of the organization.  People placed the seals on envelopes and letters, it had the lily the symbol of Easter on the stamps.  By 1967 the organization changed it's name to Easter Seals.  

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Easter Seals works with individuals who have disabilities and children who have developmental disabilities.   I absolutely loved the day I spent there seeing learning through play be the main focus.  I've spent some time this year in elementary classrooms with early childhood education students and absolutely loved the atmosphere of Easter Seals Oklahoma.  

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Development through play is how Easter Seals Daycare center works.  They have an incredible social skills instructor who I had the opportunity to watch present a lesson.  I was impressed.  My past as an educator involves five years as a teacher of students with disabilites. I've had K-12 Severe and Profound classroom to working with students who had intellectual disabilities and autism.  Centers, activities and a beautiful playground.  

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Visual cues and guides on the wall to teach about behavior and important life skills.  As a parent to a child with autism I know how important teaching behavioral skills is.  

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Life is about experiences, so I had an experience while at Easter Seals Oklahoma. They had a guest presentation that morning.  Extreme Animals were there to give the children a hands on opportunity with these awesome exotic animals. So while I won't be showing you any of the very, very adorable photos that I shot for the Easter Seals organization. I can show you some of these amazing animals.  

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I can't tell you what kind of lizard this guy is.  But he wasn't as scary as he looks!  

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So this animal rhymes with Pikachu (from Pokemon).   But it is actually a Kinkajou!  , a rainforest mammal, native to Central and South America.  What an adorable face on this little creature which is a relative of the raccoon.  

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So, I want a baby Kangaroo.   This baby Kangaroo just spent about twenty minutes meeting a large group of small children and the expression says it all.  I think he just wanted to hop around Easter Seals which I only imagined could have been great fun and chaos.   

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Meet Paula Porter, the beautiful director of Easter Seals Oklahoma.   GO like the Facebook page now.  This is a worthy organization and needs all of our support.   What a gracious hostess she was for me the day I came to shoot for them.  I appreciate her, we officially met at a tweet up a couple of years ago, and I photographed her daughter's wedding.  It is pretty amazing what feelings you have when you're given the opportunity to not only attend but capture the memories of someone's most precious life experiences.  

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Later on in the day I visited the adult respite care side of Easter Seals, what a comfortable nice place for adults who need the extra support that Easter Seals Oklahoma can provide. They were snacking and working on puzzles and other activities when I arrived.   

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But look at the amazing art work!  One important thing to remember about abilities and disabilities, being exceptional works both ways!  There are incredibly talented, wonderful people who may not be able to read, write or even speak. Yet they may be able to create, sing, dance or create amazing art.  There are incredibly intelligent people who lack social skills.  Briliant writers who stammer when asked to speak in public.  Incredible speakers who can't write.   Our cookie cutter, standardized test obsessed society forgets that with the desire to create objective equal outcomes by all, we are all still individuals; each with weaknesses and strengths.   We need to spend more time reinforcing our talents, and less time worrying about our weaknesses.   

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Working with individuals with disabilities have played an important part in my life.  They were the inspiration behind much of this page.  Because I believe that if you struggle to learn with the written word, a visual literacy can be achieved through images.   I began this page to help me make powerpoint history lessons for individuals with disabilities.  I wanted to teach through imagery.   

Take some time and visit the Easter Seals page and Easter Seals Oklahoma and don't forget to like the Facebook page.   


Related articles

N. Scott Momaday at Oklahoma City University

I believe in opportunity and taking opportunities you are given.  I believe if you are given the opportunity to be around, see or hear people who are doing amazing things or have had amazing lives you take the opportunity.  If it presents an inconvenience and makes you tired the next day you still have had that opportunity to learn and soak up the wisdom that was offered.  You may find that what you learn is not what you expect.  You may find your knowledge diverging and intersecting and creating a tangled web of synapse and dendrites which gather together in your mind to create this rich experience called life.   

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Yesterday evening I made my way to Oklahoma City University, a campus that I had not been to since 1994.  Why 1994?  The summer between my Junior and Senior year in High School I won a scholarship opportunity to go to a science camp with 15 other kids from Oklahoma. It was a geography camp and we explored "Prairies to Peaks."  It was one of those early life changing experiences, to be awarded something competitive and be able to travel throughout Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado for two weeks. For that I will always appreciate the experience that I had been given.   It was an experience where I arrived and found out I was chosen to be one out of over 150 applicants.  

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 To hear N. Scott Momaday speak about his work, and his life.  You know when you are in the presence of a star.   Not all stars look and sound like Josh TurnerGary AllanSara Evans (I invite you to look at their photos also)  not all stars are on a stage with thousands of fans screaming at them. This is N. Scott Momaday, a living legend and a incredible personality.  He arrived to a packed house in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City on a Tuesday evening. 

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N. Scott Momaday is a master of words.  He takes and creates with his mastery of the language worlds that you can visit and imagine and feel.  He creates images in your mind, sensations and feelings.  First a poet, inspired by Emily Dickinson.  He spent a substantial amount of his youth in the Pueblos of New Mexico, "I saw things in Jemez, I'll never see again that belong in a world different from my own."  Said Momaday,  when he spoke of the Pueblos it was captivating, because they hold such a unique position in the world.   To live within an ancient culture among a people who still hold those ancient traditions close.  

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Momaday was speaking of the writer Wilie Morris and how he had once said to him that "You know what I like about the autobiographical narrative?  You get to lie a lot."  "Why do you write?" "Writing is a passion"  "You have fulfilled your destiny, you have been true to yourself."  

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My friend who I met over four years ago at a Seminar at North Dakota State University drove 300 miles to attend this lecture.   I loved seeing her and we had a great day.  What an impact this six week seminar sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities had in my life!  This seminar was one I naturally gravitated to, being a Child of the Great Plains,  so I had the opportunity to study as one of the writers who came out of the experience of the Plains. I met Plains Folk, Dr. Tom Isern who led us on a five week geographical exploration of the Northern Plains of the United States and Canada.   The opportunity to learn from outstanding educators and to gain a fresh perspective on writing, History and literature. 

  I appreciate Momaday as a writer, because I was introduced to him in 2008.   In 2009, I had another amazing opportunity to take part in a seminar at Stanford University, also shared with a friend from my Fargo experience.  I walked down the halls of the University that help shape Momaday as a writer.   My children took their first breath in the Indian Hospital where Momaday was born, my grandparents took their last breaths there.   The beauty of the Wichita Mountains are the place I run to when I need solace on the worst days.   I relate to his stories of the Pueblos because my first year as an educator was spent in an ancient village.   

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I will end with a part of the "House Made of Dawn," from the novel that won him the Pulitzer prize: 

"In the white man's world, language, too- and the way in which the white man thinks of it-- has undergone a process of change.   The white man takes such things as words and literatures forgranted, as indeed he must, for nothing in his world is so commonplace.  On every side of him there are words by the millions, an unending succession of pamphlets and papers, letters and books, and bills and bulletins, commentaries, and conversations.  He has diluted and multiplied the Word, and words have begun to close in upon him.  He is sated and insensitive; his regard for language--for the Word itself-- as an instrument of creation has diminished nearly to the point of no return.   It may be that he will perish by the word."

This section, to me in 2012 brings to mind the internet.  The words that we throw around here every day which are diminished because there are so many of them, constantly.  A constant stream of language that saturates our world with the voices of billions who cry out to each other, every day online.    Such a timeless passage. 

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Momaday signing a book.  He wrote The Way to Rainy Mountain and he speaks of it in House Made of Dawn 

"I followed their ancient way to my Grandmother's grave.  Thoush she lived out her long life in the shadow of Rainy Mountain, the immense landscape of the continential interior--all of its seasons and sounds-- lay like the memory in her blood."  

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This is the Rainy Mountain that Momaday writes of (this image is an early example of my photography). I ramble here on this post, but it is my page, my work, my life.   I love the beauty of the Wichita Mountains and I love Momaday's writing because the images he paints when I read his work are just as real as the photographs that I take.  I'm often drawn to writers for their ability to conquer the land with their narratives, I stay for the story.   



The Oklahoma State Fair

After working on my page for nearly two years I realized that I have not visited the State Fair for the purpose of photographing it for my Expedition Oklahoma page.   So,  last weekend I went to the fair.  

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The Oklahoma State Fair: 4-H, FFA, Exhibit halls, food and all kinds of people.  

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I tried the fried peaches, not as good as fried oreos.  But not bad.  

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I loved watching these ladies dancing to "5-1-5-0"  

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More exhibits were set up with a blacksmith display 

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A living history exhibit.  It is so good for kids to see how things were done in the past. 

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The forge blowing air into the coals so the metal can be molded and formed into a useful product. 

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It is interesting to try to catch the metal being worked in the flames. 

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Now we move on to another area of the fair... 

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This gentleman is making a wooden bowl, by hand.  Impressive. 

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Pretty neat, wooden bowls.  

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You have to have some roasted corn, or a turkey leg while at the fair. I had corn.  

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Sit down and rest and watch the live entertainment! 

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When in the course of human events, we hold these pink flamingos to be self evident.   

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The fairway was busy when it was getting close to evening. 

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I'm not feeling like doing a lot of writing today, so these images don't need a lot of explanation anyways.  But definitely fun for the family.  This is my Sister and her brother in law and his fiancee.   Oklahoma State Fair-7820

Fall may have arrived, but it felt like a nice hot July day to me.  

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More food! 

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We ended the night watching Gary Allan perform:

Gary Allan at the State Fair

Lizard Lick Towing At The Oklahoma State Fair

So, my companions had the goal of getting autographs from the folks at Lizard Lick Towing at the Oklahoma State Fair last Saturday.  I don't have a lot to say about them besides the creative name is interesting.  

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Since I can't label this with the name of a person, I will call this Bill and the Lizard Lick Towing dude.  

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Only in America can a crowd of Oklahoman's scream at tow truck drivers who just happen to have a reality show on television. To be fair, I haven't watched the show.  I may have to check it out. 

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They have a facebook page: Lizard Lick Towing on Facebook

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They probably want you to buy their T-Shirts and stuff: http://www.lizardlicktowingstore.com/

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Yeah.  I made it into one.  I didn't ask.  I was fine being the shooter.   It's hard to be impressed when you don't know why you're supposed to be impressed.   

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They got their autographs and shirts and were happy. 

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So enough of this.   I hope if you are fans you enjoy these shots.  If not, maybe you can find these folks on your television sometime.   


The Lighthouse in Oklahoma City

What?  You didn't know that Oklahoma City had a lighthouse?  Neither did I!  But last week I shot a wedding at the Oklahoma City Lighthouse on Lake Hefner.  Here is a link giving you more information about this lighthouse. 

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I hightly suggest you follow the beautiful Paula Porter on twitter.  She does amazing work for Easter Seals and is the beautiful Mother of the Bride.  

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My husband took this shot, he had to climb down the rocks to get a good view of the lighthouse.  The lake is really low.   

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Perfect evening,  perfect wedding. I enjoyed it.  

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I didn't feel like I was shooting a wedding in Oklahoma.   

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a beautiful sunset on the lake.  

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What a beautiful wedding. 

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Throwing the bouquet 

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and I will share one more of the bride and groom because it was such a lovely ceremony. 

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The Oklahoma City Zoo

Finally! After having this page about Oklahoma for nearly two years...I made it to the OKC Zoo with my boys.  The entrance prices are less than a movie and well worth the visit!  You can even bring your own coolers in.  http://www.okczoo.com/

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The zoo is great but its built in loops and circles,  so if you're not used to it navigating is a challenge! 

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The sweet Lorikeet exhibit which the boys loved!

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I remember taking the kids to the zoo when we had to battle strollers, kids who were tired after walking through one part of the zoo and tears.  It is much easier when your "baby" is six foot tall.  You don't lose this kid in a crowd! 

Happy Justin

Awww sweet

Silly birds 

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Justin Feeding parrots
The boys loved the birds!

Yard Ornaments
I want these! In my yard! 

Flamingos at the OKC Zoo

I love Flamingos! 
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Look at Mr. Rhino! Not a Republican in Name Only- either... 

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Yup...  I'm voting for this side in 2012.



We had a good day, didn't walk through the whole zoo but we did head next door to the Science Museum afterwards! 



Project 2012: 2/4/2012

Day 35 of 366 February 4 2012

Day 35 of 366  February 4, 2012 one of the roughest days, I've ever experienced.  My Daughter was admitted to Children's hospital with liver problems... we spent the morning being told she may Die or need a Transplant if the treatment didn't work.  We left the hospital to head to Target for a few things knowing our stay would be more than another night...  The sun happened to hit the Capitol building just right, despite what was going on I was missing my camera when I noticed what a shot it was.  This is an iPhone photo.  

A Bricktown Saturday Night

 I went to a Bachelorette party in OKC on Saturday with my Husband's cousins! It was fun, I enjoyed it, now here are some photos from the evening.   So, this is where you go in Oklahoma city on a Saturday night.   Bricktown Clock (1 of 1) 

The sun was just getting into that beautiful golden hour as I got downtown..so I went walking around.  

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Nice right?  It is Bricktown...note the brick buildings.   

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as soon as I get on the phone....   I can't hear...  

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I was actually going to stop by the restaurant to look at the line, since my stomach was growling and the line was long.  We ended up eating somewhere else, after the party arrived.  The new skyscraper going up in Oklahoma City is quite impressive.  

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Bricktown has really grown in the last few years, it really is a nice place to visit.  

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I like the parkinglot by the U-Haul Building.  

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I wore these for an hour before we actually left... one block of walking and waiting in the hotel, I promptly returned them to the car for my flip-flops.  I love those shoes, on my shoe rack in my room.   They are still in the car, I probably won't wear them...anytime soon.   Or ever.  

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Sparkly shirt...how often do I go out to the clubs...  oh, never.  I figured a sparkly shirt was needed. I must point out that I like Instagram and the camera on the iPhone, great fun for people with photography problems.   

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The wedding is soon!  Drinking?  Perhaps...   not much for me though.   

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The beautiful bride and her friend

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When I edited this photo the heart in the Carriage stood out.... cute! I don't think being pulled around an urban area in a cinderella type carriage is romantic, but its a nice thought...  

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another... shot in the dark.  

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Dark... out of focus, but still nice.  Sometimes I like the slightly out of focus shots. 

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The wedding party all ate out together at Chelinos Mexican Restaurant I didn't get a lot of great shots here because I was hungry, it was crowded. I enjoyed meeting everyone though, and am looking forward to the wedding! 

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Serenading the bride and groom....  "You Gonna Be Sorry"  - ha! 

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The lovely Laurie and her Sister (Mother of the Bride).  Laurie is always so sweet about my photography I thought I'd put her photo up here (and I might get in trouble for it).   

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Look what she found in the scavenger hunt at the first club we went to...   Ha! One drink and fajitas did not mix well and I spent the next couple of hours feeling like death, but recovered to dance eventually.  

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Coyote Ugly via the iPhone...  I think we were here for a whole five minutes. 

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We stopped in at the "Wormy Dog" 

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I still love the neon signs...  

We finished the evening dancing at http://twitter.com/#!/APOKC, too dark for photography! I made it home safely by four am and had  a lazy Sunday.   




Tweetup at Rococo's in Oklahoma City

Last week I attended a tweetup in Oklahoma City at a very nice restaurant named Rococo's  . I will ask you to @ this to anyone who you may know in these photos!  What Happens at a Tweetup (1 of 1)
A tweetup is when a bunch of your "tweeps" from @Twitter meet up and see the people behind the avatars.  Now, I'm very comfortable expressing myself online.  I am not comfortable in groups such as this, I discovered.  No matter how well I "know" some of these people, I was still in a group of people in a restaurant.  Nope,  I escaped to class.   My social anxiety and shyness kicked in and I couldn't leave fast enough.   I'm so much cooler online....  Tweetup in OKC (1 of 1)

I took a whole 23 pictures at the tweetup.   Its funny how well I know a few of these people, and they me. Some of them have been on my page for over a year now!  

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When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.  The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.  ~Henri Nouwen

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True friends stab you in the front.  ~Oscar Wilde

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You can always tell a real friend:  when you've made a fool of yourself he doesn't feel you've done a permanent job.  ~Laurence J. Peter

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Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie.  ~Robert Brault

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A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.  Before him I may think aloud.  I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson